August 12, 2004
NASSCO delivers first BP Alaska tanker
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, has delivered the Alaskan Frontier, the first of four Alaska-class double-hull oil tankers being built for BP Oil Shipping Company, USA, a subsidiary of BP p.l.c.
NASSCO says these state-of-the-art ships are "the most environmentally friendly oil tankers ever built."
The Alaskan Frontier's double hull has been designed for a life of 35 years and the deck structure has a life of 50 years, "a robust configuration that will perform at peak efficiency for decades in the rigors of the Gulf of Alaska's waters," says NASSCO.
The diesel-electric propulsion system, with redundant engines, shafts and screws, significantly increases reliability and reduces air emissions and maintenance downtime.
The Alaska class ships also use seawater instead of oil to cool and lubricate their propeller shafts, thus eliminating the possibility of accidental oil leaks. Their cargo piping, normally installed on the deck, is inside the cargo tanks, to reduce the risk of small spills.
"NASSCO was acquired by General Dynamics in 1998 and they have invested more than $120 million since then to improve our shipbuilding technologies and production efficiencies," said Richard Vortmann, NASSCO president. "BP is the first customer to fully benefit from this investment, and we are extremely proud of the ship we are delivering today."
These double-hull ships have a length of 287 meters (941 feet), a beam of 50 meters (164 feet) and a capacity of 1.3 million barrels of oil.
The design of the tankers in the Alaska Class allows maximum flexibility for oil deliveries from Alaska to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles, Calif., and Cherry Point, Wash.
The four ships are scheduled to be delivered between now and the end of 2006.
Vortmann added that in addition to the three remaining BP oil tankers, NASSCO has contracts to build the first six of twelve new T-AKE dry cargo/ammunition ships for the U.S. Navy. The T-AKE program, a new class of combat logistics force ships designated the Lewis and Clark class, is expected to run through 2010.
Once completed, the four BP ships will be operated by the Alaska Tanker Company of Beaverton, Oregon, which operates BP-chartered tankers used in the Alaska North Slope trade. Alaska Tanker Company is 25% owned by BP.